Last year, I was excited for the opportunity to audition for “Gospel Dream,” the Christian counterpart to “American Idol” on the Gospel Music Channel. I spoke to my wife and received the green light to visit Chicago for the nearest audition.
I anxiously visited their Web site as the opportunity was nearing. Suddenly, I hit the proverbial brick wall.
The show’s disclaimer: “Unfortunately, you must be between the ages of 18 and 40 to be considered a contestant of our ‘Gospel Dream’ competition. Other rules and regulations apply.”
Are you considered as over the hill beyond 40? My voice is better today at 46 than it was at 18.
Amy Grant will turn 49 this year.
Michael W. Smith will be 52 in October and Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall would no longer qualify next year. Think of the loss of God-given musical talent if like me, Amy or Michael attempted an after-40 career move.
I find it surprising.
I understand “American Idol” with its 28-year-old age restriction. The young are hungry and willing to give up everything for the opportunity of a lifetime.
Additionally, an 18-year-old has decades to further his or her career. In 20 years, they can solidify their position as an icon (no Christian pun intended) in the industry. In 20 years, I’ll be a confirmed AARP member!
I’m not picking on the Gospel Music Channel. I think they’re getting the raw end.
The talent in Christian music over 40 is there. We’re not trying to recapture our youth; we’re singing for an audience of One.
As someone over 40, I have a lifetime of experiences, metaphors and stories to share. Let’s face it, an 18-year-old doesn’t have the same life lessons. It’s not an easy age but at 18, one is more likely confused about his or her identity and excited about exploring life. Beyond 40, your confusion is limited to how you accidently brushed your teeth with hemorrhoid medication. (Hint: To avoid senior moments, place the toothpaste in a different drawer.)
I will have other opportunities.
Some of them are offered by the Gospel Music Channel, and I am in pursuit. As I mentioned in my previous blog, there is big money in Christian music and some heavy-hitting music and management companies are deeply invested.
So, are they running by the same rules as our secular/mainstream counterparts?
Or do they believe the Christian audience would rather see under 40, than over the hill?
Does anyone consider a singer’s age before buying a CD or downloading an mp3?